A List Of Debatable Essay Topics On Wilde's Dorian Gray


This novel is made up of 3 main characters: Basil, Lord Henry and Dorian Gray. Each of these characters is a representation of masculinity. This is despite the fact that they are all struggling to a lesser or greater extent to comprehend how their masculinity reconcile with the social norm. When searching for debatable topics on Wilde’s Dorian Gray, you can opt to explore the 3 masculinity types as you compare and contrast them or even find out how these influence one another. Here are some ideas that you can choose for your topics

  • Wilde claims in the preface that there are no moral or immoral books. However, Dorian’s eventual ruin is a clear indication of a warning against selfishness and vanity. Does Wilde break his rules or is it that the book should be read amorally?
  • Dorian and Lord Henry claim that they are artists in their way of living. In consideration of how Wild defines an artist in the preface, do you think this is true? According to your own idea, do you think that this is true?
  • When Dorian is confronted by Basil for corrupting many, he defends himself by suggesting that every person has a hell and heaven in him. Do you think that Dorian is responsible for ruining his friend’s lives? Did Lord Henry ruin Dorian’s life?
  • On the outside, Dorian is young & charming but on the inside he is old & corrupt. He has made a decision to be inconsistent in intellectual interests and social interactions but very consistent in his appearance. How does the duplicity theme appear all over the novel?
  • During publication, there was a lot of debate on how morality influences art. Give your contribution to the debate. Is it the role of artists to show good morals to the audience?
  • There are many paradoxes in the novel. Identify some paradoxes and discuss them.
  • According to the Ancient Faustian tales, the protagonists are depicted as having made a pact with the devil and this is a source of his woes later in life. However, it is in Chapter 8 that Widle gets close to finding out why the portrait has metaphysical powers. This is after Dorian ask whether there is subtle affinity in chemical forms that created themselves into color and form on a canvas and the inside soul. What impression of the book do we get from this?

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